Persistence of arctic-alpine flora during 24,000 years of environmental change in the Polar Urals.
AuthorClarke, Charlotte, L.; Edwards, Mary, E.; Gielly, L; Ehrich, Dorothee; Hughes, P.D.M.; Morozova, L.M.; Haflidason, Haflidi; Mangerud, Jan; Svendsen, John-Inge; Alsos, Inger Greve
Plants adapted to extreme conditions can be at high risk from climate change; arctic-alpine plants, in particular, could “run out of space” as they are out-competed by expansion of woody vegetation. Mountain regions could potentially provide safe sites for arctic-alpine plants in a warmer climate, but empirical evidence is fragmentary. Here we present a 24,000-year record of species persistence based on sedimentary ancient DNA (sedaDNA) from Lake Bolshoye Shchuchye (Polar Urals). We provide robust evidence of long-term persistence of arctic-alpine plants through large-magnitude climate changes but document a decline in their diversity during a past expansion of woody vegetation. Nevertheless, most of the plants that were present during the last glacial interval, including all of the arctic-alpines, are still found in the region today. This underlines the conservation significance of mountain landscapes via their provision of a range of habitats that confer resilience to climate change, particularly for arctic-alpine taxa.
CitationClarke, Edwards, Gielly L, Ehrich D, Hughes, Morozova, Haflidason H, Mangerud J, Svendsen J., Alsos IGA. Persistence of arctic-alpine flora during 24,000 years of environmental change in the Polar Urals.. Scientific Reports. 2019;9
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